The visit has reminded me about a poem I wrote – over 7 years ago now – about the hands of a dear friend who happened to be a pastor. It is one of my favorites…
These hands cradle a baby and soothe an over-tired toddler
They reassure by hugging and holding tight, a child growing up all too fast
In tenderness they care for a loved one
Each of these hands is broad and strong, but gentle in nature
These hands move with grace, extending welcome, shaping relationship
Gently guiding, these hands show the way to compassion and forgiveness
They initiate embrace, reaching out and giving shelter
In times of joy these hands are raised up with dancing fingers
They lovingly consecrate others in rituals of birth, union and death
Intertwined, these hands fold in prayer to lift the world
These are the hands of love
So, back to my hands… I had the left ring finger surgery years ago – not by this doctor because at the time that particular surgery was not done locally; it is now. I saw her again several years ago after I fell and broke my wrist – it was she who planted a steel plate in my wrist (left) to keep me on the straight and narrow (insofar as possible!) Just call me "metallica"! When I saw her then I commented on my left finger that looked totally unnatural…and this is what she had to say: “Actually, that’s about as good as it gets. They only had [or have, not sure] men’s joints.” OF COURSE!! Only men’s. Shouldn’t I have figured that out?? Anyway I now have a trigger finger shaping up on my right ring finger, a swollen and sore joint just above the fingernail on my right pinky, and a right thumb that “catches” too many times. Have you noted all are on the right hand? Did I mention that I am right handed?
A month ago I had cortisone shots in the ring and pinky fingers. Ring finger better as of yesterday’s visit but not great; pinky finger gives me more bother although it too is better. Yesterday I got shot in thumb and two other fingers. She put several shots of Novocain into my pinky before the “real stuff”; numbness did not wear off until after 10 pm from the 2 pm event. She crammed so much steroid into my pinky that it “overflowed” – no signage for not topping off! In six weeks we will visit again.
In the meantime if I were to write a new hand poem it might go like this (keeping in mind I have not written poetry in a long time now, preferring for the moment to go with prose):
These Hands, v.2
These hands have delighted to dig in the earth, and been privileged to hold the hands of the dying…
These hands have knit sweaters (so long ago) and more recently knit prayer shawls
to comfort the ill, the bereaved…
These hands have found delight in typing on a keyboard
and sharing glimpses of the world as I see it…
And these hands too, have taken joy in looking closely at the world through the lens of a camera.
Should these hands fail me down the road I vow that …
These hands will still reach out to others in friendship, in love, and in comfort, as they are able…
These hands will find a way to peck out communication of one sort or another on a keyboard, perhaps one by then designed with the elderly in mind…
And these hands will find a way to push a button on a camera, or at minimum, to frame the space around some element of creation so I can take a photograph in my mind.